Hello 2021!

So 2020 is finally over, and there probably aren’t many folk who are sorry to see the back of it. We can only hope 2021 will be an improvement. I’d like to say a huge thank you for all the support I received during that strange and difficult year, whether it was online likes, comments, shares, reviews or purchases – it all really helped get me through it.

To kick off 2021 I’m having a little sale in my Etsy shop (10% off when you spend £20) and Folksy (10% off everything) – use the code HELLO2021 in both!

January is usually a quiet month and therefore a good opportunity to plan ahead and start new work – I’ve already got a list of things I want to get started on so watch this space!

Thanks for reading and all the best for 2021 x

Light the North

Now that my shops have closed for the holidays, and the last of the Christmas orders have been dispatched, it’s time to concentrate on another project. Way, way back at the beginning of 2020 (another time, another world) I responded to a call out for artists to submit designs for Light the North – the latest Scotland-based sculpture trail raising funds for cancer support. As with everything else this year, the planned date for the event had to be postponed, so I put it to the back of my mind in the hope that it would happen at some point. Well, I’m delighted to say that Light the North is going ahead in March 2021 and one of my designs has been selected!

I can’t reveal any details of my design at this point but I will be posting updates over the next two weeks of my progress on social media. It’s such an exciting and worthwhile project to be involved in – over 45 fibreglass lighthouses standing 2.5 metres tall, will shine a light over the north-east, Orkney and Shetland to inspire visitors and locals to explore and engage with this beautiful region of Scotland, whilst raising funds and awareness of the vital support provided by CLAN to people affected by cancer. You can follow Light the North on social media to see all the event’s news.

Thanks for reading, and have a safe and peaceful Christmas x

Folksy Christmas Market

December 5th & 6th sees my last online fair of the year, and what a strange year it’s been. Every maker, artist and designer who would normally make most of their income at seasonal fairs and markets has had to adapt to selling their work online rather than face to face. And it’s been a very steep learning curve for everyone involved, including the organisers of these ‘virtual’ events! There has definitely been much more work involved in preparing for an online market; with an actual market all you have to do is make the work and turn up! The virtual world requires photographs, videos, even audio recordings! Which all takes time. And then of course you spend hours packaging orders followed by repeated trips to the post office (I’m not complaining, honest)! I’m just looking forward to a time when we can all gather together, chat to customers (and other makers) and have a bit of fun again.

Anyway, I am looking forward to the Folksy Christmas Market as it’s the first online fair I’ve done as Rudy and the Rowan Tree. I’ve had a sneek peek and there is so much incredible work on there it’s ridiculous! The standard and variety of art, craft, and design is truly phenomenal, and proves we are really punching above our weight in the UK when it comes to creating beautiful products. Find me in the ‘Art’ section and the ‘Scotland’ section!

Hope to see you’ll pop by this weekend!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Super Market Virtual Christmas 2020

This weekend sees the launch of the UK’s first immersive virtual market experience, which I’m very excited to be a part of! Super Market Virtual opens to the public on Sunday November 22nd and ends on December 14th, with over 150 independent Scotland-based businesses taking part:

“‘Walk around’ and browse the individual stalls of over 150 independent Scottish brands across 10 categories, fill your basket, and then get it posted to your door for free. ​Each stall will have a personal voice message from the seller telling shoppers a bit about themselves and their brand – really bringing the marketplace to life and giving visitors a genuine ‘meet the maker’ experience.”

A unique way to shop online this Christmas and support small businesses this Christmas!

Tea Green Marketplace

☆ THIS WEEKEND! ☆
Super excited to be taking part in Tea Green Marketplace, the first of my online markets this winter! There’s an amazing array of Scotland-based makers, artists and designers lined up so it should be ace! Join us from 10am on Oct 31st & Nov 1st, either on Facebook or Instagram or head to www.teagreen.co.uk

☆ I’ll be offering 10% off all my work for the duration of the market so keep your eyes peeled this Saturday and Sunday 👀

Autumn Arrives

Well, the temperature has dipped somewhat and the nights are drawing in, which means only one thing – autumn has definitely arrived! Which normally I would not complain about, but…this year is, of course, different. On the upside we’ve had some incredible sunny days with visits to idyllic islands, days which remind you it’s good to be alive and living in a beautiful country. There’s also been a few fun commissions to work on and some new Rudy and the Rowan Tree items I’ve been enjoying making, all of which has kept me occupied and out of trouble. This has gone some way to distract from the fact that all but one of this year’s festive events I had in my calendar have been cancelled. Some have been replaced by virtual versions on social media but there’s honestly no substitute for meeting customers and connecting with fellow makers in the flesh. However, such is the world we find ourselves in and there’s no choice but to get on with it…it won’t be as much fun but it’s better than nothing, and as I keep reminding myself, things could be worse! So let’s concentrate on the fun stuff…

I’ve been revisiting my roots and screenprinting on plywood tablets (which I found a wee stash of when I was clearing out my workroom), keeping things simple with paper cut-outs of simple shapes and seeing where it takes me…

…and it’s been a lot of fun (nice to mix things up a bit – sometimes it’s the only way to motivate yourself). It’s also helping to keep the Folksy shop stocked up and ready for the Folksy Online Festive Market on December 5th & 6th (watch my ‘Shop’ page for details). I’ve also been making lots of little affordable brooches for stocking fillers as I know not everyone can spend money on larger pieces at the moment…

I’ll be posting updates on online fairs and events as they are confirmed so watch this space! In the meantime, thanks for reading x

Artist Support Pledge

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding the period we’re in at the moment more of a challenge than when we were in full lockdown; normality is returning, but not necessarily the good aspects (traffic levels springs to mind), and other things are still a very long way off (cultural hubs re-opening etc)…I think I accepted and adjusted to lockdown in the knowledge that it was a temporary situation, and in a few months we would return to our old lives and move on. Of course it’s not proving to be that straightforward, and the ‘new normal’ is a pale imitation of our old lives – another way of living which we have to accept and adjust to all over again. Thousands of people have no jobs to return to and thousands more are facing the same prospect in the coming months; tourism and culture (both a hugely vital part of the Uk economy) will struggle to recover from the effects of COVID-19 for years to come.  I actually feel more anxious and pessimistic than I did 4 months ago. So, to try and gee myself up a bit I’ve decided to take part in the Artist Support Pledge.

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Artist Support Pledge is “a culture and economy in support of artists and makers established and led by artist Matthew Burrows on 16th March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now a global movement of connected communities committed to an equitable and sustainable economy for artist and makers of all countries, media and ethnicities”. The concept is a simple one – when an artist/maker sells £1000 worth of their work, they pledge to spend £200 on other artists’ work. It is mostly focused around Instagram but I’ll also be posting about it on my Facebook page.

As we approach the tail-end of summer (!!!!) I would normally be starting to plan ahead for the autumn and winter’s markets and fairs, but these are very much up in the air at the moment, which is a huge concern. So I’m hoping the Artist Support Pledge will generate some sales and of course enable me to spend money on lovely things (I’ve already compiled a want list)!

Thanks for reading x

Thank You!

Hello again! I just wanted to do a quick post to say how grateful I am for all the sales I’ve had recently, which have helped contribute £102 towards buying PPE for frontline workers in Scotland. The Masks For Scotland crowdfunder has exceeded its £200,000 so that’s fantastic news.

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I have another little bit of fundraising to tell you about: Makers for Maggie’s run design, art and craft fairs in aid of Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre in Dundee, and from May 9th-24th they are running a raffle with prizes from some very talented makers and small businesses (including myself in my guise of Rudy and the Rowan Tree) – you can buy a ticket (only £2) here (just remember to leave your email address when purchasing a ticket).

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And then on the weekend of May 16th & 17th there will be an online market on the Makers for Maggie’s Facebook and Instagram pages 9am – 8pm. I’ll be selling some of my little houses with a percentage of sales going to the Maggie’s Centre in Dundee, so please have a look – it’s a great way to treat yourself and not feel guilty about it!

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Thanks for reading and stay safe x

Masks for Scotland

A super-quickie of a post to let you know that until May 5th 20% of sales from my Etsy and Folksy shops will be donated to Masks For Scotland – a dedicated fundraiser bringing PPE to those working in the front line of the community in Scotland during the fight against Coronavirus. 💙

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Image credit: Masks For Scotland

Stay safe and well! x

Strange Days

So we’re about to enter our third week of lockdown in the UK.

There’s a sentence I wasn’t expecting to write!

Full disclosure: my daily routine really hasn’t changed due to already living an extremely quiet, solitary (if you don’t count the dog and the husband) existence in the countryside, mostly making things and going for walks. I’m very fortunate in that regard. So this blog post is not going to be about how daily life has changed beyond all recognition. I feel for all the people who’s world has been turned upside down by this current crisis, most of all those who have succumbed to the virus, and their families who are dealing with a personal tragedy amid the chaos. I think about the NHS and frontline workers, the parents, the carers, the people who are struggling to make ends meet until funds come through (if they come through). The small business owners who could lose everything they’ve worked so hard for. Here’s hoping life can return to relative normality soon before too much more damage is done.

For me, the first few days of lockdown were spent keeping my head down, avoiding listening to news reports and distracting myself with making, making, making. Firmly staying put in my happy place. But slowly I started to feel like I was unravelling slightly; I could no longer concentrate on anything, hours would go by and nothing would be achieved. My little workroom is stuffed with wood, cut and ready to go, so why can’t I just get on and do it? Every day I venture in there with good intentions and every day ends without being any further forward. An awful lot of time is spent gazing out of the window, wondering when the lambs are going to finally join us, or thinking about the raised veg beds we’ve been planning to build. But then I feel guilty about having a nice garden and views while so many people don’t. I’ve been wildly veering from feeling happily oblivious, to feeling so angry at the world. But these are trivial concerns in these dark days.

With regards to keeping things going with my business…I’m constantly questioning whether to post out orders from my online shops because I don’t want to add to the postal service’s problems with non-essential items, but I also don’t want my income to dry up completely. But then, are people even spending money on non-essential items? I’ve kept my Etsy and Folksy shops open otherwise it really would feel like there’s no point in making anything! Anyway, this blog post is much more of a downer than I was intending, so I will finish with what I have managed to produce since the start of this craziness – a wee range of completely unique printed wooden necklaces!

They are available from the Folksy shop (incidentally the folk at Folksy have been very lovely and featured a lot of my work a lot of late, which has cheered me up no end) and can be posted via the letterbox rather than the post office. But then some poor postie’s workload still gets added to…oh, I don’t know!

I think I’ll end on a positive note – a picture of Rudy surveying his domain…and looking a bit feral (but aren’t we all these days)

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Thanks for reading and stay safe x